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  • Published: 27 June 2008
  • ISBN: 9780143503279
  • Imprint: Picture Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 48
  • RRP: $22.00

The Whale Rider




A beautiful picture book retelling of Witi Ihimaera's bestselling novel The Whale Rider, illustrated by Bruce Potter

Witi Ihimaera's bestselling novel The Whale Rider is retold in a beautifully illustrated picture book format for young readers.

From the time of her birth, Kahu is destined to become the leader of her tribe in the East Coast village of Whangara. But her grandfather, Koro Apirana, is caught up with the problems facing the tribe. He refuses to accept that a girl could take over from him as chief. Then a pod of whales beach themselves at Whangara. Kahu has to act if she is to save them and her people.

  • Published: 27 June 2008
  • ISBN: 9780143503279
  • Imprint: Picture Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 48
  • RRP: $22.00

About the author

Witi Ihimaera

Witi Ihimaera was the first Maori to publish both a book of short stories and a novel, and has published many notable novels and collections of short stories. Described by Metro magazine as ‘Part oracle, part memoralist,’ and ‘an inspired voice, weaving many stories together’, Ihimaera has also written for stage and screen, edited books on the arts and culture, as well as published various works for children.

His best-known novel is The Whale Rider, which was made into a hugely, internationally successful film in 2002. His novel Nights in the Garden of Spain was also made into a feature film, and was distributed internationally under the name of Kawa. The feature film White Lies was based on his novella Medicine Woman. And his novel Bulibasha, King of the Gypsies inspired the 2016 feature film Mahana. His first book, Pounamu, Pounamu, has not been out of print in the 40 years since publication.

He has also had careers in diplomacy, teaching, theatre, opera, film and television. He has received numerous awards, including the Wattie Book of the Year Award, the Montana Book Award, the inaugural Star of Oceania Award, University of Hawaii, a laureate award from the New Zealand Arts Foundation 2009, the Toi Maori Maui Tiketike Award 2011, and the Premio Ostana International Award, presented to him in Italy 2010. In 2004 he became a Distinguished Companion of the Order of New Zealand, in 2017 France made him Chevalier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the same year he received the NZ Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement.

Receiving the Maori arts award Te Tohutiketike a Te Waka Toi, Ihimaera said, ‘To be given Maoridom’s highest cultural award, well, it’s recognition of the iwi. Without them, I would have nothing to write about and there would be no Ihimaera. So this award is for all those ancestors who have made us all the people we are. It is also for the generations to come, to show them that even when you aren’t looking, destiny has a job for you to do.’

Also by Witi Ihimaera

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Video
At Home With Penguin and Witi Ihimaera

We are proud to present the first of our At Home with Penguin video series, in which we ask some of NZ’s most wonderful authors to talk about life in lockdown – kicking off with Witi Ihimaera on The Whale Rider, neighbourhood walks and why the peace of lockdown might NOT be good for writers’ creativity! With numerous short stories, novels, libretti, plays, memoirs – well over 20 books, plus many more Witi Ihimaera has edited or contributed to – where do you begin? Here is a handy guide from our Fiction Publisher, Harriet Allan: https://bit.ly/3bEL8ks

Article
Ways into Witi Ihimaera's works

Writing about the Māori world, both rural and urban, often knocking into the Pākehā status quo, Witi Ihimaera’s writing has always offered a broader view of what New Zealand literature could be – should be – about. But with numerous short stories, novels, libretti, plays, memoirs – well over 20 books, plus many more he has edited or contributed to –  where do you begin? Following is a sampling from our Fiction Publisher, Harriet Allan. 

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